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Considering a Honda CR-V. . . with repaired collision damage
Old 07-24-2011, 06:44 PM   #1
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Considering a Honda CR-V. . . with repaired collision damage

DW has settled on a Honda CR-V as her next ride. We're looking at 2008 models of the EX-L (bells-and-whistles) trim line. A 2011 version would cost approx $28K, a 2008 with about 30-40K miles will run about $22k from a Honda dealer (certified used--with a 12 month warranty on almost everything, about 4 more years on the powertrain). The base models don't depreciate this fast, a new one is probably the best choice when looking for those. Other note: We'll probably keep the car for 10+ years, and she'll probably put about 8-10K miles/year on the car.

There's a nice looking one for sale at about $20K from a private seller, but she said it had been in a collision and was hit in the rear side. About $10K in damage, all repaired under the eye of the local Honda dealer. One airbag deployed, it was replaced. They claim all the repairs are undetectable, Honda parts, documented, etc.

1) Should I consider buying this vehicle? Any ideas on special things I /mechanic should look for? (I'm esp concerned about corrosion protection in the damaged area--salt is tough on cars here)
2) Given the vehicle's history, if everything looks okay (mechanic gives the thumbs up, the paperwork is in order, the body panels are straight, and everything looks good underneath), what would you offer for this vehicle?

Thanks for any tips/opinions.

P.S. This is a bad time to buy a car, either new or late-model used. The Japanese tsunami has significantly reduced dealer stocks. So, we're in the market now. . .
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Old 07-24-2011, 07:39 PM   #2
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I bought that exact same CR-V (new), and it's the best vehicle I've ever owned, bar none.
But I would never buy one that had been in a collision. Subtle alignment issues could mean you will go through tires at a prodigious clip.
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Old 07-24-2011, 07:49 PM   #3
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But I would never buy one that had been in a collision.
I never say never, but I agree you should avoid one that has been wrecked. Too many chances for problems down the road including excessive tire wear, electrical issues and accelerated corrosion, to mention a few.
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Old 07-24-2011, 07:55 PM   #4
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This doesn't help, but I have read that new and late model used are very close in price. I'd think about springing for new especially with the end of model year coming. I thought the tsunami decreased stock effect had eased up a little....maybe not?

I will be looking at CR-V, Toyo Rav-4, and maybe the Highlander as a car to add when my (just turned) 15 y.o. gets closer to the driving age.
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Old 07-24-2011, 08:14 PM   #5
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There's a nice looking one for sale at about $20K from a private seller, but she said it had been in a collision and was hit in the rear side. About $10K in damage, all repaired under the eye of the local Honda dealer. One airbag deployed, it was replaced. They claim all the repairs are undetectable, Honda parts, documented, etc.

1) Should I consider buying this vehicle? Any ideas on special things I /mechanic should look for? (I'm esp concerned about corrosion protection in the damaged area--salt is tough on cars here)
2) Given the vehicle's history, if everything looks okay (mechanic gives the thumbs up, the paperwork is in order, the body panels are straight, and everything looks good underneath), what would you offer for this vehicle?

Thanks for any tips/opinions.
In 2003 we bought a '97 Nissan Altima with 58K miles.

In 2005 it was attacked by a guardrail to the point where both rear wheels were in the air and the guardrail was forward of the right rear wheel. I actually had to pull it off the guardrail with our other car and a towing strap.

We had the car checked out by a mechanic, who noted a bent rear stabilizer bar and a trashed muffler. I took care of the muffler on my own (eBay) and we left the bar as is.

Six years later the car drives fine (111K miles). The steering wheel had a slightly different vibration after the accident, and then after a few hundred miles even that went away. As REWahoo can attest, we got full mileage out of the tires and haven't had any problems with alignment.

So if the mechanic can't find any visible damage around the right rear strut, shock, stabilizer, spring, or fender well then you're probably fine. If the car looks OK driving away from you (not visibly mistracking or misaligned going down the road) then it's probably OK. You might want to check the undercoating for rust or other damage.

It'd be great if you & the mechanic could read the original troubleshooting & repair bills. That'll tell you if there were any issues with alignment or springs or cracked body parts.

You can also check the title to see if it indicates "salvage", but it sounds like the insurer opted for repairs.
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Old 07-24-2011, 08:18 PM   #6
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I bought a Honda CRV -EX last year . Great car ! I really love it and they were bargaining last year so I paid $4,000 under sticker . I looked at the EX L but really did not want heated seats .
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$2k Savings is Questionable
Old 07-24-2011, 08:19 PM   #7
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$2k Savings is Questionable

The savings on the collision unit is not worth it in my opinion. I would avoid it. It may be fine but there are too many unknowns.

If you do find yourself drawn to the collision unit you can get an idea of the reduced value by checking with your insurance agent. When a car is relatively new and has relatively low miles and it's involved in a collision the insurance agencies sometimes pay an additional settlement for the reduced value of the car. The value has been reduced and will always be lower than a similar vehicle that has not been wrecked. Maybe this is discussed by Carfax or similar title search agencies.

Let me end by reiterating the "stay away from wrecked vehicles" suggestion.

I like the idea of buying new and keeping it a loooonnnnng time.
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Old 07-24-2011, 08:42 PM   #8
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As REWahoo can attest, we got full mileage out of the tires and haven't had any problems with alignment.
I can't speak to the alignment, but Nords did - in spite of repeated warnings - hang on to his tires for about 10 years - until they dry-rotted and the belts rubbed through the tread.

While I respect his opinion on many matters, I don't adhere to Nord's miserly frugal approach when it comes to motor vehicles. Of course we put many, many more miles on our cars than he does and everyone has different priorities. The fact I grew up driving POS vehicles and now don't have to may also have some influence as well.
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Old 07-24-2011, 09:58 PM   #9
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CRV is a great vehicle.

I dont know about rear impact, but in theory ,it takes an 20 mile per hour front impact into a solid pole or wall , or a 28 mile per hour impact into a parked vehicle to acctivate airbags. That is a severe impact.

My advise is to stay away from the one with collision damage , especially one with airbag deployment. 90% of those are "total" by the insurance co, and then become a "Salvage Title" vehicle in most states. If someone hits you in the future, the other insurance co. will offer about nothing for any damage to a salvage vehicle. Some insur. co will not offer collosion coverage to salvage vehicles also. Check with your carrier.
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Old 07-24-2011, 11:14 PM   #10
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It would take one super-fantastic deal to get me to even consider it... and even then I would want to be able to remove interior trim panels etc. to see where welds were. That would be in addition to crawling under to give a very detailed once-over, and checking body panels and their alignment on the outside, the wheel well rim and inside area, detailed inspection of hatch and particularly the hatch opening. I would also closely inspect the rest of the car in great detail to see if there was other accident damage.

$10k of damage is no simple fender-bender. If it has had a rear quarter, rear apron, partial floor pan or roof panel replacement, I would not touch it. Hatch areas are dicey for long-term water sealing when they are bent up. It takes careful work to weld in new panels and get everything in the proper plane. Even then...

I would not be comfortable about it unless I could spend hours on it, taking stuff off and carefully inspecting. And I think from the $$ amount of damage and roughly where it was hit, I wouldn't want it anyway.
It's too bad the owner got whacked (unless they were at fault), but I really think I would steer clear of it.
Personally, for that new of a vehicle, I would rather spend more $$ and get something without that history.

Since you will be (hopefully) keeping it a long time, I would want to start with a good one, even if it costs more $ upfront.

I thought of this situation in terms of myself and what I would do, your opinion and decisions may be different.
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Old 07-25-2011, 10:43 PM   #11
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Thanks to all for the great advice. As a result, I had a more critical eye toward the damaged vehicle than I would have on my own. The seller really likes the car, and is convinced the repairs were done very well. This doesn't work in my favor, and because the car isn't in my town, it's just not convenient to give it a thorough scrub. So, we're letting that one go.

Lakewood: Thanks for the input, it would be valid for most folks. We're not concerned about buying collision insurance or in the eventual resale value of this car--It'll probably go to Goodwill or a needy acquaintance by the time we stop driving it in 15 years or so.

Nords--yep, the insurer did the repairs. I'd probably take on this project if it were closer to home and if I thought I'd get a price that would make it all worthwhile to do all the needed checking. I checked and the seller is short on docs regarding the repairs, just what Carfax shows. The seller also got some $$ from the insurance company for diminished value of the car--but that's not something that seems to be entering into the calculus.

The search continues. Thanks again to all for the assistance.
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Old 07-25-2011, 11:04 PM   #12
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We've thought of a CRV as a possible toad for when we get the RV in a year or so. Only reason for considering it for us is the AWD. Does anyone here know if you can use an AWD vehicle as a toad without hurting it? We have an Odyssey now and will keep it a few more years unless we switch to the CRV. If we keep the Odyssey, we may get a Honda Fit or a Toyota Yaris as a toad. Slightly off topic, I know...just wondering if anyone had any insight on this.

NOTE: reason for the AWD is possible trips to Utah to visit DS in the snowy winters.

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Old 07-26-2011, 12:45 AM   #13
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The seller really likes the car, and is convinced the repairs were done very well.
Nords--yep, the insurer did the repairs. I'd probably take on this project if it were closer to home and if I thought I'd get a price that would make it all worthwhile to do all the needed checking. I checked and the seller is short on docs regarding the repairs, just what Carfax shows. The seller also got some $$ from the insurance company for diminished value of the car--but that's not something that seems to be entering into the calculus.
If it's not inconvenient to keep an eye on the car, in 2-3 months the seller might be much more in touch with reality... spouse has stalked some expensive articles for weeks on Craigslist and pounced at the inevitable 50%-off sale.

You would think that a motivated seller with spotty records would go to a mechanic and ask to get repair records from their computer archives.
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Old 07-26-2011, 08:02 AM   #14
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I have a 2003 Element with 115K miles and it has been a great car (same drivetrain as a CRV). But I wouldn't buy one knowing it had been in a significant collision. YMMV
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Old 07-26-2011, 10:05 AM   #15
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We've thought of a CRV as a possible toad for when we get the RV in a year or so. Only reason for considering it for us is the AWD. Does anyone here know if you can use an AWD vehicle as a toad without hurting it?
Most vehicles in this class don't have full-time AWD. They are FWD unless you lose traction and/or select some special 4-wheel lock feature.

That said, it's a big vehicle to tow. I'd be looking at something like a small Suzuki or Daihatsu FWD if I didn't need the luggage space.
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Old 07-26-2011, 11:18 AM   #16
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I would not buy the collision repaired vehicle as I have two bad experiences finding out later that had been repaired. Primary issue on both was the paint had issues after about 5 or 6 years however both vehicles ended up over 200K in miles with out any major mechanical failure before retiring them. A car man friend told me the best way to figure lowest cost is calculate how many miles you will use the car first and figure your cost per mile. Typically in the past buying a low mile used car and riving it till she dropped was best however with low mile used cars fetching more not as much. In your case if you figure on driving either car to 180K miles. The new is only 15.5 cents and the used certified is 15.1 cents. I would buy new. If you figure no real residual value of what is left in ten years and are going to use only 90K miles over ten years The new is 31 cents and the Used certified is 24 cents. I would buy the used certified. Hence the more mile you intend to use the car the less cost per mile differnce from used vs new.
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Old 07-26-2011, 12:12 PM   #17
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CRV is a great vehicle.

I dont know about rear impact, but in theory ,it takes an 20 mile per hour front impact into a solid pole or wall , or a 28 mile per hour impact into a parked vehicle to acctivate airbags. That is a severe impact.

My advise is to stay away from the one with collision damage , especially one with airbag deployment. 90% of those are "total" by the insurance co, and then become a "Salvage Title" vehicle in most states. If someone hits you in the future, the other insurance co. will offer about nothing for any damage to a salvage vehicle. Some insur. co will not offer collosion coverage to salvage vehicles also. Check with your carrier.


+1 on this post... if it was minor cosmetic damage I would consider it ....

heck, our new car has that when a trucks lug nuts cut a hole in our door... a new panel and good to go...

my mom ran into a gate with 300 miles on her new car... again, a new panel and you can not tell the difference...

Both were minor and fixed.... but a major accident where airbags deploy is not worth the potential savings IMO...
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Old 07-26-2011, 12:18 PM   #18
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Lakewood: Thanks for the input, it would be valid for most folks. We're not concerned about buying collision insurance or in the eventual resale value of this car--It'll probably go to Goodwill or a needy acquaintance by the time we stop driving it in 15 years or so.
You do not have to be concerned as long as you don't care if you lose the vehicle while driving home after buying it.... it can be lost at any time and might not make that 15 years...

When I was very young, my mom ran into a car that was brand new and less than two miles from the dealership where the guy had just picked it up...
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Old 07-26-2011, 01:51 PM   #19
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I think the discount should be much higher before considering damaged purchase. Without records, I would be suspicious.

(OTOH ebay Motors offers used vehices for half price. Just send the seller the full price and the car will be shipped to you with a moneyback guarantee. Yea right!)
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Old 07-26-2011, 02:53 PM   #20
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My oldest daughter just bought a new 2011 CRV. She loves it, and wife mentioned the other day that she might want to try one herself. That's good news to me, since she previously very much wanted a Nissan Murano, which costs more than the CRV. She currently drives a 2007 Camry, but prior to that, drove her 1990 Honda Accord for 16 worry-free years before trading.
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